Supplemental Oscar Poll: Best Visual Effects 2013

Yesterday, we asked which of the nominated movies you believe will win the Best Picture trophy at this weekend’s Oscar ceremony. Today, let’s follow that up with your thoughts on an even more important category – one that you might actually care about. Which movie deserves to win the award for Best Visual Effects?

I feel safe in assuming that the majority of this site’s readers enjoy big action movies, and this is pretty much the only significant category where Oscar rewards that type of film. (Does anyone honestly understand the semantic distinction between Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing? Do even the Academy voters understand? These two awards usually go to the same picture anyway, and it’s almost always whichever movie is loudest.)

With the curious omission of a nomination for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (surprisingly replaced by one for ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ instead), this year’s VFX slate has a pretty typical mix of mega-blockbusters (‘The Avengers’, ‘The Hobbit’) with one entry that attempts to use visual effects in an artistic way (‘Life of Pi’).

Of these, I’ve seen ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Prometheus’. While the visual effects in ‘Avengers’ were certainly plentiful and perfectly decent in quality, I don’t think the movie pushed the limits of achieving anything we haven’t seen before. (Frankly, the big citywide destruction climax was more than a little visually reminiscent of the last ‘Transformers’ sequel, wasn’t it?) As much as I hated everything else about ‘Prometheus’, I have to admit that it was a very pretty movie to look at, and the visual effects were a huge part of that. However, by the end, I felt that it devolved into just another overwrought CGI-fest.

I have a feeling that the Academy voters will go for ‘Life of Pi’ here. I’ve heard from a lot of people who were really bowled over by that movie’s visuals. Yet every trailer I’ve seen has looked like a gaudy CG-palooza. I don’t know. I’ll have to give this one the benefit of the doubt and withhold judgment until I see it.

Does the 48 fps photography in ‘The Hobbit’ count as a visual effect or as Cinematography? Will the Academy voters get confused by that distinction?

For the purposes of today’s poll, I’m only asking which movie you think deserves to win, regardless of which you predict actually will.

Which Movie Deserves to Win Best Visual Effects (2013)?

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Which of last year’s VFX spectacles do you feel were snubbed by the Academy?


  1. Alex

    Not a huge Prometheus fan (in fact of the four nominees I’ve seen, it was probably my least favorite), but I think I have to go with it for sheer seamlessness of effects. The ship looked fantastic. Same with the alien world itself.

    I have a permenant bad taste in my mouth for how badly done the Goblin King was in the Hobbit. The Avengers didn’t really have much that hadn’t been done before, and Snow White did have those nifty shattering soldiers, but that doesn’t seem like enough.

  2. I personally have to go with The Hobbit, now whether the academy will or not is a different story, but the 48FPS version mixed with the amazing motion capture of Golum and the White Orc were some of the best I’ve seen in a long long time, the realism that 48FPS brought to the table and feeling as close as possible that those particular CG creatures were really there, put this over anything else I’ve seen this year (havent seen Life of Pi yet though). I would put this up there with the first time I witnessed Jurassic Park on the big screen, just fantastic and jaw dropping in every way

    • Pyronaut

      Gollum looked amazing, but the White Orc as well as the Goblin King just screamed CG to me (though I thought they looked more real in the 48fps version than the 24fps one); so I wouldn’t be able to give it the nod, even though the film deserves credit for taking cinema into the HFR realm.

    • Pyronaut

      My first thoughts about cool looking CGI were Prometheus and Avengers, but after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that we’ve seen all that before.

      What was unique about Life of Pi however was how much of the film was CG, but how it didn’t seem like that at all. I tried to spot instances where the tiger looked CG, but I couldn’t find any. It basically seemed like he was with a real tiger the whole time. To make basically the whole film look like it wasn’t CG at all deserves recognition.

  3. Now that we’re on the topic, does anyone know why Tron Legacy wasn’t nominated two years ago? The movie featured my favourite CGI since ‘Jurassic Park’! And the Daft Punk soundtrack warranted a nomination as well, me reckons.

  4. Dave T

    I agree with Aaron above. I thought Life of Pi was quite an accomplishment in that they made the visual effects (CG or whatever) as believable, seamless, and natural as life – and the cinematography was top-notch too… really beautiful picture.

  5. Drew

    ‘Prometheus’ and ‘Life of Pi’ were head and shoulders above everything else, visual effects-wise, this year. I would have a difficult time giving the award to one, over the other. If I had to choose, I would have to go with ‘Prometheus’, simply because of the sheer scale of the effects, in contrast to ‘Life of Pi’. The visual effects of ‘Prometheus’ were just a better achievement, overall. With that said, I am certainly not stating that they were better. They were just a more difficult to achieve, and more grand accomplishment.

  6. Ben

    I am actually more excited about this category than any other because of the overall excellence contained in each filmed. Truth be told, while it seems the heat is with Life of Pi, my vote is cast for either Prometheus or Snow White and the Huntsman. These films crafted just absolutely staggering moments of visual artistry, outdoing the magnificent work seen in Avengers, Hobbit and Pi. Snow White and the Huntsman harkens back to films like Willow and Legend, only now with the technology to match the visual ambitions of those remarkable visual achievements of the 80’s. Prometheus though, was visually perfect. So seamless and well done that I barely noticed a greenscreen moment throughout. It felt so full, so entirely realized, that I can almost forgive the story 🙂